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Colors of the Past - 800th Anniversary of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Reims

Updated: Sep 26, 2018


I happened to be near Reims in summer 2011 while the 800th anniversary celebration of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Reims were taking place, and some adoptive family of mine there of course suggested we all go! We arrived in Reims in late afternoon. I had last seen the city about 2 years prior, and I enjoyed seeing the familiar sights again.


We stayed close by the cathedral sipping warm drinks as darkness deepened and we waited for the show to start. The cathedral was lit by soft yellow light, standing calmly at attention nearby. I tried in vain to work on my French and enjoyed listening to the banter around me. Suddenly, the illuminated cathedral plunged into darkness and strains of a song began, calling for our attention. It was time. The show itself was beautiful and mesmerizing. From the darkness, silhouettes of framework and workers leaped forth, illustrating the construction of the cathedral. The light show progressed - an amazing show of lights and shadows depicted the cathedral's history across its facade. It felt like we were standing still watching the years and events fly by in fast motion.


Almost abruptly after speeding through the years, the lights came to rest with the final resounding chord of the music illuminating the facade and sculptures in the colors in which they were painted long ago. I still find that so fascinating because it's so different from what we're so often accustomed to and our version of picturing history. It's cool how such a small shift can have such an impact.


We were able to wander around the cathedral to take a closer look. It almost took a minute for anyone to move after the performance ended because we were all so spellbound by it. The silence and solemnity of the looming structure before us seemed to call for a certain reverence. Truly an awe-inspiring and fascinating (dare I say, "colorful"? ; D) experience.






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